This video – posted to YouTube on December 14, 2012 – captures an historic calving event from the Ilulissat Glacier, also known as the Jakobshavn Glacier, in western Greenland in 2008. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes, during which time the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles (five kilometers) wide. Adam LeWinter and Jeff Orlowski captured this footage, which is featured in the newly released film Chasing Ice, which is in theaters now. We recommend full-screen viewing. Expletive alert at about 00:40.
How can we understand the scale of this event, which the film producers said is the largest glacier calving event ever to be witnessed firsthand? They say it is as though the entire lower tip of Manhattan Island broke off, although the glacial ice is several times higher than New York’s cityscape.
Scientists know a lot about the calving of the Ilulissat (Jakobshavn) Glacier. You can read about what they know, and how they know it, in this NASA Earth Observatory article called Greenland’s Ice Island Alarm. Some illustrations from that article are below.
Bottom line: Adam LeWinter and Jeff Orlowski captured footage of a massive 2008 calving event from Ilulissat Glacier, also known as the Jakobshavn Glacier, in western Greenland. The footage is featured in the newly released film Chasing Ice, in theaters now. They say it’s the largest glacier calving event ever caught on film.
Chasing Ice is in theaters now.
Michael Brennan interviews scientists, serves as a host for both the EarthSky 90-second podcasts and EarthSky 22, and oversees the EarthSky Studio. He uses his recording expertise to help create EarthSky audio and video science interviews in both English and Spanish, making sure that our audio’s technical quality exceeds everyone’s expectations. He is a member of the EarthSky Management Team.